This week we had a chat with some of the team behind the Pop Up Picture House, which will be operating in Marlow during December.
We met with chef Tom Kerridge, and Marlow resident Chris Hughes of Brand Events who have organised large well known events including Carfest and Top Gear Live. An initial chat between these mates in pub led to the cinema idea, and already knowing Mark James of Unicorn Productions (an event production company based on the High Street) and Ben Philips of Steamer Trading… the four got together in another pub and plans started to hatch!
The location is obviously a major part of the plans and Chris said “Ben could do anything with that building, but he’s keen to eventually have it used for something that will add to the town, and it’s great that he’s so supportive of us giving this a go. Mark is great at creating amazing spaces from nothing, so between us we think we have it covered!”
During our conversation it became clear that the team just want to do something fun in their home town. They are really enthusiastic, and still coming up with ideas. In fact they were still having new ideas during the interview!
The concept is quite simple – you pay a set fee (£35 for an adult) for which you get a meal and a movie. They wanted to make it clear they won’t be operating a restaurant (i.e. no menu choice), or a cinema (in that you cannot buy a “movie only” ticket).
Tom explained “We want the experience to be like coming to our home – our imaginary big home with a huge lounge, watch a movie on our big screen and get served delicious food”. In practice this means seating will be on sofas, with food served on low tables.
I asked if the project is definitely just a one off, or might lead to something else.
Chris said “It’s one thing creating a buzz when you are showing classic films over the short Christmas period – but how it would be on a wet Tuesday in February, we just don’t know”. Tom added “If it does work, we’re not saying no to possibly doing another Pop Up at a later date – but our only objective now is making sure this is 5 weeks of brilliant fun”
The 2 course meals have been designed designed by Tom and will be cooked by members of his teams from the Hand & Flowers and The Coach. A starter will be served, and there will be a short film – maybe modern, maybe a cartoon, or black and white classic. We might even get some ads for local businesses, just like cinemas of old!
The main course will be served up prior to the film starting. It will be a hearty home cooked style dish such as Shepherd’s Pie, Chilli Con Carne or Curry. There’s a specific set meal for each film, but there will be vegetarian and gluten free options.
We were shown the list of films, and it’s a great mix including films for a variety of ages and tastes, ranging from the likes of The Lion King through Love Actually to Pulp Fiction. The final list is still subject to change – but it looks like each movie will only be shown once – except for Elf, which was so popular in their online poll that it gets two showings!
Where possible, the main course will be matched to the movie, so specific examples would be
- The Godfather – Beef Lasagne
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – USA Style Pulled Pork
- Slumdog Millionaire – Curry
You will also be able to get more drinks from the bar – at this stage is is envisage they can be preordered, and waiting for you – like in the theatre. Some areas like bar vs table service are still being considered and there will be a couple of test screening to see what works best.
All sounds exciting eh? It’s great to have something fun and different to look forward to in Marlow, and given the short term nature of this venture and the buzz it has already created – each showing is very likely to sell out! So here’s the key dates:
- 27th October – full list of films to be released
- 4th November – tickets go on presale to those who have signed up on the website
- 8th November – tickets go on general sale
Finally, at time of writings, they are recruiting for a variety of roles – email firstname.lastname@example.org with relevant experience and availability if of interest!